Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer's end

Actually I couldn't care a horse's arse that summer's almost over. It was a long blue, sunny, grungy, wet but interesting blur and state of affairs. Much like the rest of earth's time it'll turn back into whatever unseasonal seasonal pattern of weather the wild Atlantic Ocean decides to dump on us via the vagaries of the jet stream and various bits of uncontrolled global warming's evil work. All together I  had almost three weeks away from work plus a few nice weekends and in that time traveled extensively around the nicer parts of Europe and thankfully experienced and enjoyed a lot of fine weather, company, wine and food and got a few good photos. Family fun also figured highly. I'll remember the summer of 12 for a long time, at least until the relevant brain cells pop out to lunch never to return and erase the finer details.

So next month, tomorrow in most countries, we have the official start of the Indian Summer, generally better and slightly more predictable than it's regular cousin. I'm already making plans and they are in no way influenced by TV, sports, advertising or mass media campaigns. This Brave New Indian Summer will be the best, most creative, funniest and funkiest so far this year. I'll bet anyone a home made bowl of Linda McCartney's steaming sweet potato and basil soup  that it will. In fact the new and inspirational stories are already flooding out from here in well managed dollops.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Beyond the postern gate

If you look really closely you'll see what it is I'm going on about.
Some of you may be genuinely perplexed and confused about life, it's many possible meanings and the direction that you (voyager) should now be traveling in.  These feelings are common and you shouldn't let them get you down, there are in fact the many golden opportunities that are out in the wide world before you, waiting for you.

As an example I came across this old and mysterious Fifeshire gateway the other day. I'd no idea to where it led or what was beyond, I was of course curious. So, heart in mouth, cigarette stubbed out and legs akimbo I entered and passed through - unscathed apparently.

I can't say too much about what happened next, you'd hardly believe it anyway. Suffice to say that now, grass has grown, dew has gathered, time has passed and I'm on the other side, beyond this gate in another place and in a position to review the entire gate entry and crossing experience. Overall I'd give it a nine out of a possible eleven. If you've gone grey early, have irritating problems down below, hate your best friend's job, you're iffy about modern music and dislike tying leather shoe laces because of how they feel then do something about it; try exploring the shock of the NEW today.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Signs of the times

Beware! WW1 tank about to begin raking up in the garden.

Beware! Blokes out and about wearing itchy or tight underwear.

As a connoisseur of toilet cleaning signage images I often stumble over these badly placed signs as I go about my daily duties. But whatever can they really mean?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

In my life

Here is the (the non-exhaustive list of ) categories of people who I've know in my life who have either harmed me or done good things to me in my various life time encounters...

Well I had a wee think about this hoping to arrive at some kind of score and maybe see a pattern and somehow make sense of it all. I even went as far as consider origins, education, professions even going as far as to think about football fans i.e. Rangers or Celtic. Then I thought about the type of people I'd either harmed or helped. That's an interesting line to follow. Then I stopped thinking and gave up, walked away and began to whistle "In my Life."

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Living beneath the volcano v lost in the Cosmos

I do feel bad about that mountain of sweet little lost socks that remain...lost.  There's very little anyone can do in such a situation, we're all lost somewhere in the vast washing machine that is the Cosmos.

Yesterday was mostly about the end of the working week, West African Groundnut Stew and the sipping of red wine. Eating said stew created some anxiety and curiosity, we were hungry and ate at a steady pace, whilst our guests, possibly a lot less hungry ate at more sedate speed, probably a "normal" speed. Eating in small sociable groups does from time to time raise the issue of mismatched eating speeds and misaligned appetites. Perhaps we should be more open about this in society.  Restaurants and cafes could ask the diner when booking or being seated where they currently reside on the consumption speed and attitude scale*. Are they regular fork hangers? Do they like to contemplate their meal or dither? Can they (or can they not) carry out a conversation while food's on the go? Are they just really bloody hungry and filled with the joy of life to the point where they want to stuff themselves regardless of manners, talking or other assumed social niceties? Are they feeling a bit like Henry VIII?

This measure (*needs a scale and name) and division could lead to separate seating and eating areas where this behaviour was taken into account. The result would be better and more profitable use of restaurant space, quicker churn and turnover, more couches and cushions in the slow lanes, more stools and standing areas in the fast lane. So eat free, eat fresh, live long and prosper and enjoy your food whatever consumption model you belong to. I'm still not sure what you should do in your own home, maybe just be a good observer and chew each mouthful 33 times.

*There's a project here for somebody, EEC funding may be available.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Obscure but pleasant places

Yet another obscure place from which our material can be downloaded (and some others versions various odd locations and then some general creative stuff that gets quite accidentally but usefully Tweeted about).

Funny how everything is interconnected these days, you make a move here and then find there's a record of it over there. Of course it's all still lost and swirling, caught up in the waves of that big bad cyber sea...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Septic tank on the Fritz?

A form of street art not found on streets.
Today I'm mostly uploading the mysterious .wav files to the mysterious Nimbit site which promises many marvellous things whilst possibly delivering very little. It's a two laptop job coupled with a certain amount of roving cat interference, cats and keyboards are not a good mixture. I reckon that I've completed 52% of the first 31% of the second part of 61% of most the of project, quite a score for so early in the evening. Oh how that hard drives hums and struggles and the heat generated is unbearable.

There's never a good time to hear that your drains are blocked. We've been hearing it now for about ten days. The slow deep gurgle and the mischievous swish of rising waters as the toilets stubbornly refuse to allow the flow of miscellaneous household  effluent of various types to go down in order to return to the centre of the earth from where it came. The good news is that a team of men with the obligatory white van are seeing us alright. They have various useful rods and the promise of a new underground tank being installed somewhere over by the spot where we suspect there is a badger's set. The badgers will love the additional new feature no doubt.

I have seen the future; there will be a world without libraries, bookshops, paper, snotty topped pencils and all of that sort of thing. In the land where the .pdf is considered to be a passable king the Kindle Touch rules supreme. What a marvellous and simple little piece of sexy, wordy, book burning kit.

My Pastrami nightmare is over, I have some, toasted with cheese and other edible accessories and a warm peace has descended on us all as the spicy smell emerges from beneath the glowing grill.

Joni Mitchell lyric of the day: "Somehow these old feelings keep on coming around, you think they're gone but they just go underground, will you still love me when I get back to LA town?" (Earworm).

Monday, August 20, 2012

She's here again

The proud owner of a newly presented Cloudland mug. 

Almost back to the pre-holiday season normal this weekend, busy reconnecting with the garden, saying hello again to a crop of vegetables we buried in the ground a few months ago and eating fast and noisy family food in Frankie and Bennies. On my way to work this morning, driving, listening to the radio and thinking about the previous two days I realised why it is I slavishly take five minutes to complete this blog on an almost daily basis. Of course it's not really for anybody but myself, it's an unreliable memoir and partial diary, a sketch pad often full of daft ideas and attitudes coupled with the occasional golden moment worthy of celebration and hopefully illustrated with interesting or inappropriate pictures. I forces me to remember something of the day or at least record a view that, maybe for the briefest time I held in the seconds before some other bright, shiny thing came along into my field of vision and distracted me a little more. Anyway, tonight I'm uploading music to this place , we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Spud U Like

Potato still life with carrots and parsnip.
Funny how by not planting potatoes this year I've actually managed to get a better potato crop than I did last year when I planted lots. Clearly I'm not much of a son of the soil or green fingered hero. What I do makes little difference, the spuds seem to do it all themselves, naturally.

Jumpers and stooges

Jumper. There was a man who jumped from the Forth Bridge and survived, he did it just the other day. The CCTVs picked up his erratic behaviour on the bridge. They saw the signs, they read the signs. They decided that he was likely to jump so they scrambled a rescue boat. He spent a few moments on the bridge, maybe running things over in his mind, then he got up on the parapet and jumped. Jumped looking ahead, serious, determined. He travelled through the grey air, straight down, body tight, vertical, in line like a nail, a perfect dive, perpendicular. He hit the water and hardly made a splash. He went under but the boat was there, on station, hooks and lifebelts ready, hands over the side, searching. Then they saw him. The boat picked him up alive, dazed, unconscious. They got him ashore and rushed him to the hospital, all blue lights and sirens. The boatmen sweated and returned to their homes, others just carried on with other duties. There is always something else to do. They got the man to the hospital, he came round. His only injury? A twisted ankle.

Stooges. “Contains dangerous behaviour but in a slapstick context” Thus reads the warning on the film currently running at the local Odeon, the Three Stooges. It's not a franchise I'm familiar with, I seem to have missed the Three Stooges during my formative years, they mean very little but I do like the idea of “dangerous behaviour but in a slapstick context”, I wonder under what circumstances it might be used as a legal defence. Is their a legal definition for the term “slapstick”?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pussy Riot v soft furnishings

I watched the latest Pussy Riot video on the Guardian website it begins of course with a ten second couch commercial for DFS or some thing like it, there's no opportunity to skip it either. It's little things like couch commercials set against political messages and the tale of an (obvious) injustice that I find unsettling. Here am I reading the news for free on their website, they add a Pussy Riot video to the story and so that it works the whole news promulgation thing is financed by a soft furnishing company in the UK. I imagine that DFS aren't all that bothered about their struggles against the Putin Regime or punk music or the ridiculous and outrageous sentence of two years in a Russian jail.  Another disturbing example of the constant juxtaposition of the banal, the serious, the tragic, the funny and the odd, that's the media and the Internet. 

As for the girls of Pussy Riot, their music is terrible, not even good bad punk. It sounds like a squadron of MIG21s crashing down on a Lada factory and reverberating across the frozen wastes of Siberia for a long time. You just want them to stop and stick with a bit of quiet protesting and so pass their message minus the headache inducing thrash of badly played instruments. Maybe Putin was right about putting a swift jackboot onto their tunes (although I'm sure he quite likes the accordion so he's no music lover), but of course it's not about the quality of their songs, it's about something far more serious. Hopefully that message wont be silenced.

Once every 5050 years the three Great Pyramids line up with the Moon, Mars and Venus. The event has a mystical name which for the life of me I cannot recall. It's all worked out just as the ancients had planned it, they knew their stuff. Luckily I had my camera handy as I passed by. If only there were some ancient Egyptians alive today to see it all come together.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A safe passage to Ecuador

One day the grass was green, the sun was in the usual place and visible and my shadow  looked a little better than I did. That's shadows for you, always trying to get the better of you and steal the moment.
Well the assurance of a safe passage to South America might be alright for some. Me, I'd take my chances in a Swedish jail and take the opportunity to write a book and generate publicity with whatever case it was that had to be overcome. Ok, they may send me to the U.S. at some point, some things in life you have to suck up and at least they have decent peanut butter and coffee in their jails. The media don't really know how to cover this story, there are too many hero-villains in every part of it, individuals, countries and governments. When there is no black or white, shades of grey between one and forty nine in human rights are not easily understood, digestible or reportable.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Olympic Hangover

Yes, it was awful, awful on a number of levels.
Two days gone and it's back to normal telly, thunderstorms and slightly less hysterical news reporting. We now know that without the Olympic hullabaloo and feel good factors ordinary life is ditch water dull here in the sticks and uncultured provinces of the UK. We don't even have any post Olympic shit or litter to shovel up, London retained all that. Our various irrational and prejudiced dreams are over and so it's back to rail fare rises, Jennifer Aniston's next wedding, various bits of non-news worthy speculation about primitive tribes, Euro Million winners, friendly football matches and tittle-tattle. I'm sure we'll survive, all you need is a tomato juice smoothie, six paracetamols and a few back to back episodes of the Borgias on the Sky box. That'll make it all right again.

Oh and while we're at it, rather than holiday in Spain like a lazy lump, Mr David Cameron and his fractured government should cash in on the UK's inspirational and golden moment and recapture Ireland, invade France, declare war on Iceland (and any rogue volcanoes), leave the EU, reclaim the South Pole and nationalise the railways, airlines, banks and Jaguar Land Rover. Then we can announce the discovery of a huge oilfield under the Falklands, the re-colonisation of the Caribbean, Canada and Central Africa and launch our first expedition to Mars, via China and the Moon.  At that point we inject £100 billion into the NHS and give everybody a public holiday, a slap on the back, a bottle of whisky and a good cigar this Friday. That should fix things for the weekend and stop all the artificial post-Olympic nostalgia  and depression in it's tracks. Pull your socks up laddie!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The algorithm that ruins the world

Well maybe it's not that, maybe it's the algorithm that runs the world, the world has, according to most religions already been ruined. So it was invented by Euclid, developed by Turing and Shor and everybody else and then let go to run wild in order to power inventory systems, banks, manufacturing, digital recording, rockets, 747s, Olympic Scoreboards and the tills at MacDonalds. Anyway it may be broken and so may be all of maths and geometry and as result at some point the world will just end, like that, with a whimper. (Sigh!).

The same can't be said for the Olympic Games. It overran and ended with a peculiarly bombastic celebration based on a focus group / committee's idea of what Britain used to be all about. Taxis were covered in copies of the News of the World, Mary Poppins walked dogs for a living, BMWs abounded and everybody hummed Beatles' tunes and spat on Rolling Stone's albums. You could tell more about modern Britain by the featured acts that didn't turn up or appeared on screens in grave spinning drag as flickering chanting ghosts. An interesting catalogue of weird juxtapositions and misunderstood or deliberately distorted songs; Kate Bush, John Lennon, Take That and a punk free generation worth of hypocrisy and cheese, all  trotted out for a TV scoop and calibrated fireworks. At least the Pythons in the guise of Eric Idle had a brief spotlight reprise and a few moments of managed lunacy. None of it really matters of course because history is written by the planners and the victors and at the moment that's not the medal winners or the "inspired" and fickle public, it's the Conservative Party. It was a late night  for a Sunday and the new working week but looking back I did enjoy most of the last sixteen days. Soon it'll be a distant memory.

Meanwhile it turns out that today's featured artiste, the divine Mr Ronnie McD (above) is a real person and there is only one of him operating  in the UK. Now I'd have thought he'd be well fagged out and burgered somewhere in the Olympic Village or washing up at that world beating restaurant, a man has to do etc. But no, turns out he was visiting Dunfermline (but just for 60 minutes or so) and then onto some other drive-through or superstore. Apparently there's an algorithm that works out his magical McD venue appearances. It may of course be in the process of slowly running down just like the other bigger one.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


The beach, Aberdeen, looking south and looking north. Up early today thanks to a wonderful two year old grandchild who has her own time clock running on it's own individual time pattern. So it's blueberries and Shredded Wheat and out for a walk. Healthy.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Strathcaro pie and cake

Strathcaro Services: A non nuclear, unabandoned location that's a time paradox stuck in a time warp caught in a time slip and at  junction between opposing parallel universes, so quite a normal place in which to find yourself on a Saturday morning in modern day Scotland. You don't go there for the food, the ambiance, the value for money or the clientele. You go for the uncomfortable experience and physical improbability of it all.  So what of the coffee, the chicken and mushroom pie and the sponge cake? Indescribable and edible and bizarre and strangely tasty. ****  = 4 Stars but I refuse to score the toilets under any circumstances. Of couse I'll be back.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tesco: daily shoplifting journal

A old bloke (well a bit older than me) sitting by the exit in Tesco, he has a charity tin, a clip board and a rather glum expression on his face. "Men's cancer!" he says."No thanks!" Says I. (I got 99 problems but that's currently not one of them *).

* Editors Note: the people involved in this blog and the relentless stream of consciousness recording and pointless blethering that goes with it do on occasions contribute to minority and mainstream charities and are by no means rubbishing the efforts of the good people of wherever who tin rattle in such a self sacrificing way.

Tesco: awash with sunshine and sun clouds and filled with dull special offers on things  I'm not really interested in. I was however able to pursue my Pastrami obsession and as usual buy a few unhealthy yogurt based products and £5 half price wine.
After two hours of wild and uncontrolled gardening, celebrating weed pulling,  holly gathering and singing the body electric  my thumbs became sore. I stopped to observe these  young strawberries, almost ready to become red and edible; redible you might say. That's for both birds and humans but who will get there first?
A guitar in the sunny garden - a desperate attempt to retain some kind of musical linkage, credibility  and content  in this otherwise unfocused blog.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

We plough the fields and scarper

It's harvest festival time and once again we celebrate the gathering in of the garden's booty with our drunken naked midnight dancing across various lawns, ponds and woodlands and thanking the wispy spirits of the fields and of course our old friend and deity the Great Pumpkin. These simple carrots offer up some evidence of this year's growing, encouraging and well manured triumphs, they are of course the dirty variety with lots of fine green shoots that reflect the current healthy UK economy and ongoing Olympic bubble.  They can be eaten by anybody and they are not that bad at all, says I. In fact I'm sure they are good for the smooth running of the constitution and for other necessary but even more unseemly body parts to function. The remainder of the crop are still hidden in the soil, I'm hoping for even bigger things to come along in early September.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Takes a lot of effort to stay connected

A portrait of a third rate artist as a young man turned old prematurely but still fairly happy with his lot in life.
Every so often you find yourself siting on a rocky outcrop in Ibiza thinking deep, meaningful and positive thoughts. You design complex bass lines, line draw time machines, write short stories about petty crime, plan some kind of major (or petty) crime or fraud, come up with off the cuff recipes for tasty but unusual food combinations that would shock TV chefs, have a fantasy about a lost lottery ticket, complete one of the crucial conversations that  you never quite finished and write the prologue to a book about the vacuous and wasteful nature of modern conceptual art. You do these things in what seems like a few seconds but in actual fact is an entire lifetime; that's odd but it'd all fit on a Post-It note in Pittman Shorthand. Then before you know it you're back in West Lothian wondering about the life span of varieties of overgrown lettuce, the dirt damage done to rhubarb by incessant rain and the prospect of a warm but strangely cloudy weekend in the North East. As you do this you remember that there are eight slices of Pastrami in the fridge just waiting for you but the mustard is running low and you're not sure how fresh the bread is. You feel anxiety for a moment but it passes as the gamekeeper whistles to the young peasants somewhere in the distance and your mind goes blank again. It is at this precise point you realise that you can't quite remember the title of the Joni Mitchell song that is by now running backwards in your head but you rather like the rhythmic sound of the tumble dryer in the other room (the one we seldom mention) but you never did get yourself educated at Eton or Oxford despite that elaborate South Sea Bubble  related scam carried out in England and now you must get back and check on Twitter never really know.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Heartbreaker stringbreaker

Tommy: Almost from a safe distance.
Too busy a weekend: Tommy Mackay at the Beehive in the Grassmarket, City of Edinburgh, his production of Oliver Pissed; funny, brilliant, quirky and full of random moments when guitar strings snap and stun the captive audience. Go see, he's on most days at 2100. Then lots of other weekender things I'm not talking about here.

Yesterday, as below, entertained by the CBQ man and his good lady, box set received also c/w grilled sea bass. Yum.

In other irrelevant news our house was magically struck by a combination of the Wrath of God and lightning at 1800 tonight, that ended the prospect of two hours of the Simpsons. So all the lights, TV, computers, cookers etc. stopped. God had spoken and we listened. We ate lukewarm pasta for tea and repented in sack cloth and white wine. The power came back on at 2115, now I'm checking emails. I do love a good power surge, spike and the unkindest cut of all.

Sometimes sound stops

‎'Eastwind7''s tribute to CBQ's interpretation of 'On a Clear Day' ......
 ·  ·  · 10 minutes ago · 
  • You like this.

Sunday, August 05, 2012


We're into our custom mugs these days. The tea and coffee just taste the same however.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Cake and eat it

Even when you're old and cynical you still get affected by things despite all the inner conflict and conflicted denial you may feel. Most of our world here in the relatively stable and affluent west is good and deserves appreciation. It can't all be allowed to be polluted by the politicians, corporate dogs, kill-joys and those in the know in the media and the shadows. Kittens, puppies, sunny days, football victories and breath taking views all should be celebrated, music, light, life, babies and chocolate, music, nice motor cars and wine and feeling light headed and wonderfully happy for no particular reason. Enjoying the food or the TV you like without guilt or any necessary explanation, liking what you like, loving who you love. I'm actually enjoying bits of the Olympics, there's nothing at all wrong with seeing people do well and vicariously sharing in and feasting on that special moment that belongs to someone else but is on public display. Pity the BBC can't quite strike a balance in their coverage between hysteria and ordinary news reporting.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Those three graces

1. Thank you for the world so sweet, thank you for the food we eat, thank you for the birds that sing, thank you Lord for everything.

2. Some hae meet and canna eat, some wad eat that want it, but we hae meet and we can eat, so let he Lord be thankit.

3. God is great and God is good and we thank Him for this food, by God's hand we must be fed so thank you for our daily bread.

Ariston v Indesit

OMO = On my own.
I used to get excited about getting a new kitchen appliance, Rolls Razors, Hotpoint and Electrolux. Cheap tin and weak electric motors set in white concrete. Each one comes with a free packet of Daz or Tide and a set of wooden tongs with which to capture the hot, wet clothes. Oh and a booklet filled with cartoon housewife images, smiling and hanging out the washing wearing a swirling skirt in some suburban garden. The prose was hardly John Betjeman but it was instructive and by and large read by the consumer, who in those days could read. There were however no extended guarantees or warranty, just a useless certificate that the Co-op gave out that was rendered useless after any kind of actual use. Sure enough six months down the road a critical hose pipe or jubilee clip would fail and the elongated repair process would begin following a kitchen flood. A man in overalls came, sucked his teeth and pronounced the machine dead, or very near death. Terms like “a bad batch” and “Monday morning and Friday afternoon models” became familiar. It wasn’t just a broken washing machine, it was the death of British Industry.

So yesterday our faithful Ariston failed after seven years of near criminal abuse centred around the mysterious programme 4, whatever that was for. I visited Comet, home of the good deal and special offer, none of which were in stock so it was a gleaming Indesit (7kg capacity I was told by a bored assistant) available for delivery between 0700 and 1200 this very Sunday, an offer I could hardly resist at an extra £15. I fits our busy schedule, apart from the sleeping in on Sunday part.